This novel is the first in Martin Edwards´ ´new´ Lake District series. In the short prologue, Barrie Gilpin, a young sufferer of Asperger´s Syndrome, finds the body of a woman on the old Sacrifice Stone. As Barrie is anti-social and ´different´, he is an obvious suspect.
Seven years later, Oxford historian Daniel Kind, who met Barrie when they were both children, and his partner Miranda move to Lake District to begin a new, peaceful country life of writing. By chance, Barrie´s home, the old but cosy Tarn Cottage is for sale. On the outset Daniel is cautious because of his prior knowledge about the place. His charming Miranda who is a spontaneous and determined woman – but perhaps also a bit restless – soon succeeds in convincing him that the cottage is the place of their dream, however.
Chief Inspector Hannah Scarlett is also about to begin a new life though not exactly of her own choice. Her superior has appointed her the leader of Cumbria Constabulary Cold Case Review Team, not as a real promotion but to keep her out of the way after a spectacular murder case which went wrong. Her not very sympathetic partner Marc quite likes the idea of Hannah reviewing old cases in the countryside as he thinks she has been far too involved in her job lately. Obviously the Gilpin case is the first one the Cold Case Team decide to reopen after a mysterious phone call. The locals do not seem to be too keen on talking about the case, though.
Apart from a truly satisfying mystery, the novel offers excellent and convincing descriptions of the village environment where it takes a generation to become part of the place. Martin Edwards is clearly an experienced writer who takes an interest in his area and his characters; nicely rounded characters whom I am looking forward to meeting again – soon!